Oakville softball team drops final regular-season game

Sturm optimistic about Tigers’ postseason chances

By Robert Chalupny

The Oakville Senior High School softball team’s 8-3 loss to the Seckman Jaguars in its final regular-season game was not a typical game for the 20-4 Tigers.

Some early game uncharacteristic mental mistakes and errors by the Tigers caused them to give up five unearned runs, which was the difference in the score last Friday.

In the first inning, the Tigers had a could-be rally cut short. The bases were loaded and they had already plated one run. But with two outs, they had a runner picked off first base to end the inning.

Things went south in the second inning with some walks and three fielding errors, which resulted in a four-run inning for the Jaguars.

Head coach Rich Sturm gave credit to Seckman for playing a good game, but acknowledged his squad beat itself.

“We just didn’t play good defense. We gave up five unearned runs and we did not take advantage of opportunities with runners in scoring position,” he told the Call. “I thought, you know, our at-bats in particular with runners in scoring position were not real good.

“I mean I don’t think they (the Jaguars) had to make too many difficult plays. There were a lot of pop-ups, a lot of easy ground balls. I give their pitcher credit obviously for keeping us a little bit off, but we need to do a better job.”

Sturm added, “We are a much better team offensively than what we showed tonight and we need to do a better job of adjusting … Obviously, defensively this is a bit of an aberration. We’ve made one error in the last several games combined and we make three in an inning.”

The Tigers were their own worst enemy, according to Sturm.

“They always say you’re tough to beat when you don’t beat yourself, and we were our own worst enemy today,” he said. “Again, and I give Seckman credit, they played well, but we definitely hurt ourselves in some situations there.”

But with the regular season coming to a close, the Tigers have 20 wins behind them. Sturm believes the Tigers have matured as a team throughout the season and certainly are going to be ready for postseason action.

“We did get much better as the season has gone on,” Sturm said. “We’ve won a variety of different ways. I think what this team has done is they have figured out ways to win.”

As far as playoff readiness, Sturm says his girls can go all the way.

“We’ve definitely had the strength of schedule,” he said. “We’ve prepared ourselves the best we can playing quality opponents in the regular season. We have competed with and beat some of the best teams in the state.

“So, it’s not a matter of can we, it’s a matter of will we … Will we do enough to get it done? But I certainly believe in them and they believe in themselves.”